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The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) stamping plant in Warren, Michigan, has been awarded silver status for its efforts in implementing world-class manufacturing (WCM). The facility becomes the seventh North American plant to earn such a designation.
The 70-year-old plant earned the milestone award following a two-day audit during which it earned a minimum of 60 points in 10 technical and 10 managerial pillars. To become the first North American stamping plant to receive the silver designation, employees had to demonstrate clear WCM know-how and competence through employee-conducted pillar presentations and a review of projects that have been expanded across the shop floor.
The 2.1-million-square-foot stamping plant has been making hoods, liftgates and fenders for FCA vehicles for nearly 70 years. After several major expansions, the company announced in 2014 that it would invest $63 million to expand capacity at the facility by installing the latest high-speed servo tandem press technology. The plant currently employs nearly 2,000 people.
"I want to congratulate the nearly 2,000 employees at Warren Stamping who have truly embraced WCM and demonstrated the proper competencies, rigor and pace that make them deserving of the silver designation," said Brian Harlow, FCA's vice president of manufacturing. "Since its implementation, WCM has been instrumental in changing the culture in our plants. It has given dignity to our workforce by recognizing that their dedication and knowledge are critical to our success and has created a new spirit of cooperation with a focus on achieving our shared goals."
The WCM methodology focuses on eliminating waste, increasing productivity, and improving quality and safety in a systematic and organized way. It was first implemented by Fiat in 2006 and introduced to Chrysler Group as part of the alliance between the two companies in June 2009. WCM engages the workforce to provide and implement suggestions on how to improve their jobs and their plants, promoting a sense of ownership.
The achievement of WCM award levels, as confirmed through independent audits, recognizes the long-term commitment of the workforce to making significant changes that can secure the future of a facility. Awarded plants also have a role in accelerating the implementation of WCM throughout the organization as coaches and mentors.
During an audit, zero to five points are awarded for each of the 10 technical pillars, which include safety, workplace organization, logistics and the environment, and for each of the 10 managerial pillars, such as management commitment, clarity of objectives, allocation of people, motivation of operators and commitment of the organization. A score of 80 would indicate world class.
Along with the Warren stamping plant, six other FCA North American facilities have been designated silver plants. They are the Windsor (Ontario) Assembly Plant, Dundee (Michigan) Engine Plant, Toledo (Ohio) Assembly Complex, Saltillo (Mexico) South Engine Plant, Mack Avenue Engine Plant (Detroit) and Saltillo (Mexico) Van Assembly Plant. Windsor Assembly was the first plant to reach silver status in March 2014.
In addition to the seven silver plants, there are currently 13 facilities that hold the WCM bronze designation.
For more information, visit www.fcanorthamerica.com.